Common Name: German Chamomile, Scented Mayweed
USDA Hardiness Zone:
Matricaria recutita German Chamomile- You won't often see named varieties of chamomile.
Chamaemelum nobile. Roman Chamomile- An alternative plant, Roman Chamomile is a perennial plant often used as a groundcover and between stones and pavers. (Zones 3 - 9)
German chamomile is easy to start from seed. Start seeds indoors, about 6 weeks before the last expected frost. Chamomile seed needs light to germinate, so simply scatter the seed and press firmly onto the soil, but do not cover the seed with soil. Seed should germinate in 7 to 14 days.
You can also direct seed German chamomile outdoors. You’ll get better germination if you do this in the fall and let the seed stratify over winter, for a spring crop.
Chamomile will flower best if grown in full sun and not too rich organic soil. It will survive in poorer soils, but the stems will be that much floppier. Chamomile is not particular about soil pH, preferring a neutral range of between 5.6 and 7.5.
Maintenance: Regular water will keep the plants in bloom longer, but the plants are very drought tolerant, once established. In extremely hot climates, chamomile will appreciate being kept watered and some afternoon shade.
Problems: Most insects stay clear of chamomile. In fact, it is used as an cucumber pest deterrent. However, aphids and thrips can sometimes be a problem. Both can be washed off the plant or treated with insecticidal soap.
Harvesting: Harvest the chamomile flowers when fully open. They can be used fresh or dried and stored for later use.